“Jerry Saltz: How and Why We Started Taking Kim Kardashian Seriously (and What She Teaches Us About the State of Criticism)”

“DWW: Well, to be fair, the response hasn’t been universally rapturous. But there was, actually, a lot of rapture. To take just two examples, Laura Bennett called the book a masterpiece in Slate, and in the Telegraph, Sam Riviere called Kim a feminist artist who belongs alongside the Brontës, Jane Austen, and Virginia Woolf. Just this week, The Atlantic declared, “You win, Kim Kardashian.” A year ago, those were exactly the kinds of writers and the kinds of outlets that deployed Kim as a punch line about the end of culture. That’s a pretty incredible turnaround. Especially because, frankly, I don’t think Kim has changed very much…
JS: To me, it felt as if the art world was either being defensive, frightened, or hadn’t caught up to the disturbance in the image force. Regardless, the art world wasn’t having any of it; just the idea that Kim and Kanye could be creating something as out there as an aesthetic of a “new uncanny” or Andy-ish got people’s panties in a real twist.
Now Kanye has gotten an honorary Ph.D. from the same art school that gave me one. I mean, how freakish is that! (Though, needless to say, many in the art world have protested this, too.) And Kim is now a role model. And she should be. She started taking selfies in the mid-1980s with pre-digital cameras, and many of the genre’s formal earmarks are already present in her pictures: the odd angles, arm holding the camera visible, peeks behind scenes, the fish-eyed distortion in the depth of field, the urge to create reality by documenting it. The irretrievability of passing moments…
the people who think of themselves as intelligent consumers of culture — people who want and like to have opinions about music, movies, television, etc. To me, these are also people who — and here’s what I really want to talk about — seem more and more to depend on a kind of permission-giving consensus about a subject before they actually feel comfortable endorsing or even entertaining it. With so many subjects, there seems to be a sort of tipping point, followed by a flood…
what’s changed undeniably is our attitude towards television, which has allowed a lot of people who had sort of trained themselves to deride it to finally allow themselves to enjoy it. We are so much more open to quality now, and pleasures of the form like seriality, character familiarity, and immersive narrative. And because we’re more open to it, we see quality more…
We have so many people using their energy now to attack how other people use their energy. This is the new nullity.
In the art world, two or three generations of critics were all but lost to academia or having the subjectivity and original opinion scared out of them, making them refrain from writing clearly, with voice, judgment, something personal. That’s changing… I mean, Kim has nothing to do with it, but the ethos of acceptance or change around her is indicative of something. I love this.”

Ugh it’s so trueeeee about not having opinions until other people have opinions, we’re the worsttt

Almost makes me want to buy the book — “Some kind of love is born and maybe dies in this book, a sort of nervousness, inaccurate explanations, liberation. And I only need to see it once to get all this.”

Related: “Some Of You Asked Us To Stop Writing About The Kardashians — This Is Our Response

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